Last week, light-field photography pioneer Lytro announced that it would discontinue the pictures.lytro.com platform, which allowed Lytro users to share their refocusable ‘living’ light-field images with others online and through Facebook.
The move, which is a direct result of Lytro changing its focus from consumer products to the professional market, was not received well by existing owners of the original Lytro and the Lytro ILLUM cameras. This more or less made their images unsharable in their interactive form. All may not be lost, though.
It appears the company has received enough negative customer feedback to consider allowing the developer community to host its ‘living pictures’ online without its involvement. In other words: Lytro might open source the platform.
Lytro explained this potential move in a new announcement, which reads:
“We are currently evaluating this request but have not yet reached a conclusion. Although we fully trust that the passionate community of developers around Light Field photography can come up with brilliant solutions, there are some challenges to resolve around intellectual property and we cannot promise that it is possible.”
If you currently own a Lytro camera you can sign up here for email updates on the issue. No matter how the story ends, it is a sobering reminder that today’s complex imaging hardware can far too easily lose some—if not all—of its functionality once software support ends.